DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

-Toilet paper rolls (however many you like)
-Hole Punch
-Decorative materials like scrap paper/old greeting cards/magazine cutouts/fortune cookie words of wisdom/washi tape
-Binder clips (optional)
-One shower curtain ring


  1. Gather some toilet paper rolls.


2. Fold them down flat.


3. If they are being stubborn, you can clip the edges with binder clips.


4. Decorate! Below are some closer views of the ones I liked most. The one below is made out of an old thank you card, mini film versions of photographs I got included with my developed photos and an old stamp.


This one below is made up of a magazine cutout, an old thank you card, paper bag, paper hearts from a gold envelope and yellow scrap paper, an old fortune cookie fortune and washi tape.


5. Hole punch each decorated paper roll. The good thing is, you can always add more since they’ll be connected by a shower curtain ring.


Here’s what they look like put together:


Alternative uses:
Gift card holder (link leads to the DIY from last year)
-Flashcards for study
-Gift tags
-mini handheld art gallery
-mini photo album

I LOVED THIS PROJECT! It was so fun and I felt like it was less overwhelming to decorate and less time consuming because the surface is much smaller compared to traditional scrapbook paper sizes. All materials and tools were things I had at home already.

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

It’s that time of year again! I love seeing the different styles of each since starting in 2016. If you’d like to see some photographs for my handmade 2016 & 2017 planners, check out this post called “paper-related items” I published last September. For 2016, I believe I just used a blank notebook and filled it in. 2017 and 2018 are made from scratch. My notes for this project are below :)

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Items used to make this planner: grocery paper bag, washi tape, black thread (and needle), block letter stamps, stamp ink, black pen, stencils, colored pencils, markers, blue pen, ruler, and loads of scrap paper (I decided to fold them in half, so the blank side could still be used).

Notes: It’s much more minimal this year with no photographs, or magazine cutouts. I also decided to create a table of contents page and numbered the pages. I saw that I didn’t use up all the pages from this year’s planner, so decided to cut down for next year’s. It was fun hand stamping the headings, however, I need more practice for sure. I wish the colors were a little different and that I figured out the dimensions for each day better. I’ll try to remember that for the 2019 calendar :) Lighting and quality varies with each photograph since I used different cameras. Creating holes for the binding took a bit and my hands got sore, but it was totally worth it for me. This project made me want to make more handmade journal-like things.


sweet memories

cherry memories

when i was a child, my mom loved feeding us kids fruit. she’d slice up oranges, taught us to eat pineapples, showed that some fruit had seeds, some needed skins peeled. she gave us cherries in the summer. it was so delicious. i am so grateful for it all. the sweetness, the taste itself. it’s summer again. and i’m enjoying the deliciousness mother earth provides us. each new day there are little pieces of things to be grateful for. pieces of fruit to remind us of our childhood, gratitude for seeds of nutrition, health and nature. the beauty of all our senses.

love for maru the cat

love for maru the cat


(I drew this sketch of him in one of those diet boxes he runs into)

For as long as I remember, Maru the cat videos on YouTube has always made me smile. They are simple and short clips of him playing and being active. He has a friend now, too, named Hana. Maru is kind of a super cat with abilities and confidence rarely seen in most of his peers. This smart Japanese feline is also super cute and funny. If you’re having a bad day, I’d suggest checking him out. I joke, but seriously, suggest that one day I’ll have a cat and hope it’ll be as smart and whimsical as Maru. And this is coming from someone who feared dogs and cats more than half her life. So that says a lot..


dear theatre

dear theatre

…And the performances hold onto me even now when the day has passed far beyond a few hundred hours. I knew then that I wanted to profess my love to the theatre because there is something rare with this art. I had my first taste of it, being on stage, when I was just 8 or 9; however, not a performer. Due to irrational shyness and lack of self-confidence, I refused the request of my teacher to dance on stage with the other girls, so instead, she asked that I handle the curtains. For such an easy job, I took it very seriously. My hands holding onto the rope tightly, waiting for the cues in the music to lift the curtain. I got to bow with her at the end and hear the applause.

Since then, I’ve had a few “acting” (if one can even call it that) and theatre experiences in career and small projects; even in dance which I never would’ve thought. It’s interesting to play a role and have someone ask if the situation I acted was real because it was believable. Fortunately, it wasn’t, but I was appreciative for the words.

On the other side, I really enjoy being the audience member more. I am an observer at heart, I think. The art of performance in theatre is so beautiful and authentic (as authentic as acting can be). For the ones that never get recorded, there isn’t another chance to see it. Even if they’re playing for months, each matinee and nightly show is different. Having worked in a theatre before, I’ve heard performers complain that they felt their performance for a specific show sucked, but for the audience members, they didn’t seem to notice because I heard them speak sweet praises as they left. For them, it is the first and last time to see that show at that time. There is no rewind button or streaming option online. They can’t watch re-runs of it. It’s live. There is a show and then it’s over.

I suspect this is why I love concerts, too. The energy and atmosphere just cannot be replicated; even in memories. The actors on stage, if they’re good, can really pull people in. They only have one chance. Messing up means we all see it without the option to edit themselves later. With the help of sound, lighting and props, I am so impressed with how well the story can be conveyed and how the simplest movement or silence can mean so much. A shadow on the wall can signify a window. A table can become a bed or a bench at the park. All these mechanics take part in creating this imaginary, yet real space. There is also an odd dynamic with seeing a performance live because it teaches the audience to practice structured empathy and compassion because there is someone literally in front of us showing emotion, but there is also a boundary. We cannot be fully involved. If there is laughter, sure, we can laugh with them. But if there are tears of sadness, we cannot console them or tell them it’ll be okay. So being an audience member means we can sometimes participate and sometimes we cannot. However, we all share this specific space and time.

The art of live performances and all that comes with it is kind of old-fashioned if you think about it. Living in the digital age, it makes this kind of entertainment and medium even more valuable to me.

Maybe I’ve romanticized this, but in thinking of the life of the performer/surgeon/teacher/artist and the work they put in means it is an art of passion. I admire those who really put a lot into their craft and skill because I know a lot of the time it is internal. There are so many important moments of practice, diligence and care that no one sees. With the final lesson, product or art piece, there is a sense of love and belonging, too; even if it’s something with one person, someone somewhere will appreciate it. And they will share it. They will remember how it felt. Ironically, the art of passion is beautiful because it cannot be saved or physically held or fully seen. But it can be felt. Like how my mom used to scold me when I pulled beautiful flowers off of trees or bushes, she’d say that I should leave it because it is beautiful as is. Taking it would destroy the beauty. So having only one chance or opportunity to experience something is really powerful and meaningful in itself.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances” – William Shakespeare
drawing animated characters

drawing animated characters

I’m currently trying to practice being present. So I decided to draw a bit for a diy gift I’m giving for a birthday. It helps a whole lot in being focused and it’s therapeutic. We’ve been watching lots of Hayao Miyazaki films lately and they’re addicting. Philosophy, beautiful imagery and compelling stories is quite the combination. Admittedly, I wasn’t too fond of all the stories, but I truly admire all the work it takes to create films in this medium. If you’re not familiar with Miyazaki films, they are Japanese animation films or anime, (but according to Wikipedia, Miyazaki despises the word, so let’s stick with animation instead). I especially like My Neighbor Totoro and one blogger friend Beth suggested, The Red Turtle. Such beautiful, cute and thoughtful films. I drew some film characters below. I’m not the best at it, but I think I’ll get better with practice. I drew with pencil, pen and colored pencils.

The camera or lighting caused the pieces to look lighter than they are.

You may recognize this from the Disney film Bambi. Bambi and Thumper talking with each other.

Mei Kusakabe is a character from My Neighbor Totoro. Very sweet, curious, cute and innocent.

My take on the character Snow White.

Mulan from the Disney movie Mulan.

Totoro and friends!

Did you like any of these?

green tip #13 |celebrate mother earth

green tip #13 |celebrate mother earth

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy. – Marie Curie

Earth should be celebrated everyday and Earth Day is a nice reminder to treat our world with respect, kindness, understanding and a bazillion hugs and smiles. I want to admire it longingly, gazing up in the sky when the sun sets and the skies are filled with indescribable colors of love. I wish I had more to give as it has given a lot to me.

And I can give more, all the time. Giving back and continuing the cycle of life is how we can all function together when our resources and ourselves can unify. To continue changing and evolving for the better takes time. It takes a lot of effort and cannot be done in one day. Just try one thing. I remember when I was first inspired to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I was overwhelmed. There seemed to be so much I should have been doing and it felt really difficult. But I decided to try one thing. Then I tried another thing. And I’m still trying new things and methods to lessen my carbon footprint, to lessen my dependence on plastic and to be realistic about stuff; past the superficial happiness that quickly fade. Consuming things just isn’t the same anymore—buying, eating and etc. I’m not perfect at all. I am just beginning. Each day is a learning day. I think essentially, it’s just taking an extra step and thinking, “how will I recycle (dispose, reuse, compost) this when my use of it is over?” Here are some ideas for you to try your one thing: Earth Day Website and tinycaravan’s list of ideas.

Here are some more:

  • Plant some flowers or trees. Sunflowers are bee-friendly and we need more of these little friends!
  • Go for a hike somewhere and appreciate all the beauty you see.
  • Do something that requires no electricity, no carbon, no plastic or all three!
  • Show love by creating art of nature–paint, draw, write poetry, etc.

One of the many positives of living a more eco-friendly lifestyle is that the experiences are more worthwhile. The happiness is deeper because they aren’t motivated or supported by money, by recognition or society’s standards. They’re meaningful in ways that touch my soul like walking in nature. To really challenge myself in looking at what I use and own in a completely different way. To appreciate the little things. To have more memories.

Here are some of mine:

happy earth day.

unlikely friends // a stop motion film

unlikely friends // a stop motion film

This film is composed of 33 individual photographs to create the stop motion effect. There are 2 additional ones at the end. This was a first attempt at stop motion film.

I’ve always wanted to try. I gathered these photographs earlier this week and finally had time and motivation to put it together last night. I would like to make more of these films, but I know it involves a lot of patience, balance and time.

It’s really short, too. I learned that it takes a lot of very small movements of photographs to create a smoother film. I hope you enjoy.

our time & our love

our time & our love

To pursue something more than what limits you. To go beyond the normal tendencies of our emotions. We feel this echo of ourselves that we’ve grown from into another person, renewed or broken down. Our beings are constantly changing. All the time. I walked into this beloved bookstore I used to go to. I love the ins and outs of each aisle; passing by gems of information. A new recipe here and a photograph there. I picked up a children’s book I never read before. The lines of the illustrations; the amusing story and the takeaway at the end. Life is not simple. We don’t live in dreams or fantasies. But that doesn’t mean there is no fun. There is and can be and ought to be. That’s what little happy surprises do to us. Like seeing the sunsets we weren’t planning on seeing. Hearing a child laugh or feeling a warm breeze in the summer night.


One book I encountered was about a Taiwanese artist named Tehching Hsieh. He had devoted several years to art performance and if you research more, there’s this intriguing fluid message about time that will wash upon you. At least for me. What is our time? What do you think of time and how do you use it? The art of being human coalesce into the continuing calculation of time is what Hsieh subjects himself into.

To me, in my philosophy of my whole life’s work I would say that life is a life sentence. Life is passing time. Life is free thinking.

– Tehching Hsieh

So when one does their day to day routine, I wonder what it is they are trying to achieve? Is there anything to achieve? An ongoing message is that our time is our decision. In terms of a metaphorical way of speaking and our actions, we commit because we want to. We are in motion as by what our name is, by what our jobs are, by what we stand for in terms of someone else; our familes, our friends, ourselves.

This is just to give you something to think about as it has me. Black and white only exist in films and even then there are sometimes mysterious fades and lines of color. They sneak in only after we see the film develop and there is no way in erasing. Or to go back to what it used to be. I am not telling you how to live as you do not others. Even when there is a speech of command, there is no guarantee of rules. No guarantee of what bounds us if we don’t bound ourselves.


And then I see this quote from the actor Chris Evans about love and ex-lovers. “If you’re ever fortunate enough to love someone and have them love you back, it’s worth protecting that. It’s rare that someone can truly know you.” Truly knowing is rare. To be intimate with someone. To share secrets no one else knows or to have memories no one else have. It’s special. Sometimes it’s so heartbreaking and sometimes it’s so heartwarming. It’s funny and whimsical and silly to think of what we used to be as kids and what we used to think were true. We have to value these things. Value the time that was used to make these kinds of memories. Value the love you had because it was a true one.

I suppose this entry submits a little part of what I think. A mixture of ideas and reflections that aren’t easy to say in one breathe. They aren’t as straightforward or clean, but they mean something to me. They mean a lot.



I’ve been having some issues with WP and seeing my reader or doing anything for that matter. I hope the little kinks work themselves out. I somehow navigated around the whole thing, although, still unable to read other blogs. Felt inspired to write for a couple of days, but then when I log in here, I have issues. So I refuse to leave without posting something.

belief in anything involves trust. it involves vulnerability. belief has a mixture of fact, a mixture of hope and a mixture of spirit. sometimes trust comes so easily because of something silly like appearance or superficial values. it’ll be given when there’s enough time for bonding and involvement and love shared among individuals. trust is natural. trust is a kind of truth we rely on, so we know we’re not alone. it allows us to have faith in something other than ourselves or more than ourselves. but we never know for certain if we’re right. but that’s okay. because it’s happening all the time. the time is now. the location is here. trust, along with many other entities, is what makes us human. can you see it? no, not really. can you draw it? no, not really, maybe a symbol of it. but you can feel it. below are a few photographs i’ve gathered that will probably make you stop and look at it. think about it. making you have thoughts and reflections that you can’t see, but you can feel. can you trust how you feel?

trust (a poem I originally published in 2013)

at the end of our days
and we all will have
there will be many moments of clarity.

what will you trust then?
if only you have this time to live?

the things you misunderstood
will be nothing.
the memories you make
will be something.
the name you have
will be the only thing

there is much distrust in our world today
which breeds such
unpleasant and unproductive qualities of man.

trust that there are those
who will love you forever
for nothing more than love itself.

trust that there are strangers
who will do more than
those who know you sometimes

trust that there will be
a light in you to guide you
to wherever you need to go

the worst mistrust of all
is the one with yourself.
so trust

trust will open
anything you want

trust creates strength and stability
in anything you want to create.

these are some of the things i’m learning
there are some of the things i’d like you to learn
I trust you understand my messages.

don’t hold back

don’t hold back


While listening to James Bay sing, I think of a flurry of images of me in the car as the sun shines on my arm and wind on my face and I can feel summer all over me. I then panic and wonder where my summer’s gone…. only to remember that it hasn’t even come yet. Thank goodness. I anticipate some new adventures this summer. And with this in mind, I hope you are too. I hope that you don’t hold back. I randomly remember this acting exercise. My teacher wanted us to give a speech in class about feelings. First, feel love. Manifest the feeling you get when you are with someone you love. Not the family kind, but the romantic kind. He said he could tell if we lied; if we tried acting rather than being. It was hard. But I understand now. It’s not about holding yourself back to what you know is true. Because then you’ll be acting, rather than being..